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Building a multimedia room for my school

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Man, I meant to post this topic last week and got sidetracked.

We are having a budget meeting tomorrow for a multimedia room at our school, and I need to put together a brand and price list for the equipment we want. I know that some of you have your own multi-media rooms at home. Others may do this stuff for a living or have done what we are doing for a school or church. So I need suggestions on high quality brands as well as where to purchase them. Remember that this room, while not huge, will be geared toward multi-use: presentations, film screenings, seminars, teaching... If anyone can think of something I've missed feel free to give suggestions. Thanks!

  • Mounted projector
  • Screen - pull down, 10 - 12 feet long
  • DVD player
  • VHS player
  • Mini-DV player
  • CD player
  • One of those imagers that work like an overhead, but using a camera instead of mirrors (what are they called?)
  • Speakers - surround sound
  • Patchboard or receiver for easy routing
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This will probably not get built until the summer, if at all.

I was thinking of a CD player for the sake of redundancy. I guess it isn't needed.

The Mini-DV player is in case we need to take footage straight from a Mini-DV camera and examine it.

When I wrote "pull down," "motorized" was a part of my general thinking there. We want to have a whiteboard behind it for lectures.

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On the surface, it makes a lot of sense to put a whiteboard behind the projection screen, but I've run into several scenarios where, during a presentation, we wanted to whiteboard something, but couldn't. I'd argue in favor of 1-2 freestanding whiteboards, or boards on the sides (but that will give you major acoustic problems.

Yeah we thought about that, but with our scenario the room is too small to put a whiteboard to the side.

I think that DVD/VHS combo player is a good idea.

And yeah, there are mini-DV decks. Mainly to help relieve unnecessary rewind stress on the camcorder.

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  • 1 month later...

Make sure the display devices have HDCP (different than HDMI, though most if not all HDMI enabled televisions should also have HDCP). It shouldn't be an issue if you see HDMI but it is something to check. This will be necessary for displaying any high definition content.

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I've created a media lab for a school and use it daily. here are my observations:

You'll be tempted to go with a Bose Three-in-one system because the sound will be good quality, the name is trustworthy and the price is good. DO NOT!!! It is a crappy system that has several bugs that show up with extensive use.

Get ALL individual pieces, no combos, because if something breaks, the whole media lab is out of service for the 30 days it takes to repair it.

Projector: Go high one the LUMENS I think they're running around 2000-2400 these days. The higher the better. I have an 1800 and if any lightis bleeding into the room its tough to see the colors sharply.

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I do agree with the current problems with HDMI. Unfortunately my advice sort of hinges on when this room will be built and how much future proofing is desired. HDMI and HDCP are going to happen one way or another I believe. Probably by the second half of this year. The main problem right now is not all equipment is HDCP compliant. So you're right about parts of your setup not working with HDMI. That will probably continue to be a problem. Especially for the average consumer. The solution right now is as you said, use component.

It's even a major issue with computers right now. There aren't any graphics cards that support HDCP. At the chip level they are supported but the GFX card makers have yet to make outputs for it. And there's only a handful of LCD monitors that support it.

So right now pretty much all video/computer equipment is going to be obsolete in the next year in regards to next generation HD content. It will work but it will down rez to standard def or something of the sort.

So it's actually a bit scary right now when it comes to investing heavily in a video setup that you want to continue using for many years. Sorry this post isn't helping SZPT decide WHAT equipment to buy.

Edited by mdsteves
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